Sneak Peek

Understand how plant growth and pruning are intertwined.

Pruning is one of the fundamental skills needed by gardeners and horticulturalists. However, it is much more involved than merely cutting off plant growth. There are many different reasons to prune, and there are many different ways to go about pruning. Some plants benefit immensely from pruning, some will produce better quality fruit, and others may fare far worse form being pruned. 

This short course explains how plant growth and pruning are intertwined. It provides instruction on how to prune range of ornamental plants as well as important species like fruits and roses. Students will learn how to assess the pruning needs of plants and learn about good pruning practices. Furthermore, you’ll learn how to encourage fruiting and flowering, how to create topiary and espaliers, and how to make bonsai.  Upon completion you will feel confident in your knowledge of how and when to prune all sorts of plants.


Lesson 1: Introduction

  • Why, when and what to prune: How pruning affects plants
  • Removing broken branches, dead or diseased wood
  • Controlling the type of growth
  • Controlling the plant’s shape and size
  • Promoting healthy, bushy growth
  • Rejuvenating a plant
  • Why prune?
  • Pruning different species
  • Timing for pruning
  •  What is compartmentalisation?

Lesson 2: Types of Pruning

  • Cleaning out dead wood
  • Stopping
  • Disbudding
  • Deadheading
  • Pollarding
  • Removing branches
  • Crown cleaning
  • Crown thinning
  • Crown reduction
  • Crown lifting
  • Crown renewal
  • Root pruning
  • Pruning trees in general
  • Pruning larger shrubs
  • Pruning tropical plants
  • Pruning container plants

Lesson 3: Pruning Tools and Equipment

  • Secateurs
  • Pruning knife
  • Loppers
  • Pole pruners
  • Hand saws
  • Trimmers
  • Chainsaws
  • Gloves

Lesson 4: Pruning Hedges

  • Selecting hedging plants
  • Establishing a hedge
  • Types of hedge
  • Pruning or trimming an established hedge
  • Rejuvenating old and overgrown hedges
  • Pruning conifers
  • Other hedging techniques
  • Pleaching
  • Tapestry hedges
  • Mazes

Lesson 5: Shaping Plants

  • How to develop an espalier
  • Horizontal espalier
  • Oblique palmette espalier
  • Topiary Portable topiary
  • Other plants suitable for topiary
  • Single-stem topiary
  • Verdant sculptures
  • Bonsai
  • Creating bonsai
  • Pruning bonsai to shape it

Lesson 6: Managing Prunings

  • Composting waste
  • Choosing plants for composting
  • Using compost to improve soil
  • Composting in home gardens
  • Indore method
  • Using lawn clippings
  • Mulching
  • How to lay mulch
  • Biochar
  • Chipping

Lesson 7: Pruning for Fruit Production

  • Before buying plants consider the shape
  • Before pruning
  • Points to consider when pruning
  • Pruning specific fruits
  • Citrus spp.
  • Pruning a bush shape
  • Pruning a standard shape
  • Renovating an old citrus tree
  • Open vase shape formative pruning
  • Plum tree pruning
  • Pruning apricots
  • Knowing your buds

Lesson 8: Pruning Roses

  • When to prune roses
  • Pruning techniques for different types of roses
  • Pruning climbers and ramblers at a glance
  • Pruning roses as standards
  • Dead heading roses
  • Rejuvenating an old rose plant

Lesson 9: Compendium of Plants - How to Prune What and When

  • Summary: Basic pruning guide
  • Glossary


Pruning is a skill that every gardener needs to master -from home gardener to tradesman to professional.

There are thousands of different plants and every species needs to be pruned differently -depending upon the location and situation it grows in. All too often, plants are pruned poorly, leaving them unsightly and unhealthy. Bad pruning can destroy the health and aesthetics of a garden; but good pruning can enhance it.

Comment from John Mason Dip Hort Sc, FIOH, FCIH, FPLA

"All too often, people ask me if I can recommend a gardener who can prune properly, because their current gardener just can't. The skill of pruning starts with a good foundation, then builds over many years with experience and through observing the way plants regrow after you prune them. Over my 50 years in horticulture, I have seen a decline in the skill and expertise being practiced by gardeners. This course is an opportunity for you to set yourself on the path to gaining a skill that will set you above most others working in horticulture today".

How do our courses work?

  • Enrol any time of day or night.
  • Start studying immediately or later (as you wish).
  • Configure your study sessions at any length and frequency you wish.
  • Work through at your own pace.
  • Help desk- contact our help desk here with the subject title: 'Help Desk Short Course'.
  • Automated self assessment tests pop up at the end of each lesson. You can attempt these as many times as you wish; and each time, upon completion, you can see your results. You will need internet access to complete the self assessment tests.
  • At the end of the whole course, you are presented with a major automated examination which can be attempted online, anywhere, anytime.
  • If you achieve a 60% pass in the exam, you immediately receive a downloadable certificate of completion with your name on it.

Who is this Course intended for?

  • Home gardeners who want to do a lot better in their gardens
  • Anyone starting up or wanting to expand the range of services offered in a garden business (e.g. a lawn mowing business, seeking to offer an expanded service. When mowing work declines in winter, you can have another source of income, pruning roses and fruit trees)
  • Anyone seeking employment as a gardener. This course can give you knowledge and skill that sets you apart and gives an employer a reason to consider you above other applicants
  • Garden managers seeking to train their staff
  • Gardeners, nurserymen, landscapers or horticulturists wanting to fill in a gap in their skills set.

Enrol Now!

Fee Information (SG)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $220.00  1 x $200.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
More information about
Fees & Payment Plans.

Enrol Now 5% discount!
Select a payment plan:

Courses can be started anytime
from anywhere in the world!

All orders processed in Australian dollars.